2018 Belmont Stakes odds, lineup, top contenders: Horse racing legend unveils picks for Justify Triple Crown bid
Hank Goldberg picks the Belmont after nailing the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness
There's plenty at stake at the 2018 Belmont Stakes, which runs Saturday at 6:37 p.m. ET from Belmont Park in New York. After winning with American Pharoah in 2015, Bob Baffert is participating in his fifth Triple Crown attempt, a record. His horse this time around is Justify, who's going off as the 1-1 Belmont Stakes favorite. At 52 years old, jockey Mike Smith could become the oldest Triple Crown-winning rider. Before you lock in your Belmont Stakes picks, you need to see what horse racing legend Hammerin' Hank Goldberg has to say. If you had laid $300 on his picks in 2004, you would have cashed for over $21,000.
A legendary prognosticator and current CBS Sports expert, Goldberg couldn't have been more dead-on about the 2018 Kentucky Derby. He picked Justify to win, saying he'd excel in the slop. The result: Justify sloshed to victory over Good Magic in the rain and mud by two-and-a-half lengths at Churchill Downs.
Then, he called Justify repeating at the Preakness despite an injured heel and sloppy conditions -- which is exactly what happened. He also cashed the Pick 4, Pick 5 and Pick 6 at Pimlico this year.
The reason Goldberg has been so successful: He goes straight to the source. In 2004, he was all over Birdstone as a 36-1 monster long shot to win the Belmont Stakes over the heavily favored Smarty Jones, who was undefeated like Justify. Goldberg had dinner with Birdstone's trainer, Nick Zito, before the Belmont Stakes at a pizzeria in Queens.
"Nick told me Birdstone had been training great," Goldberg said. "He was training off the charts and Nick said the horse would love the Belmont because he had the running style that fit well with the track." The Hammer pounced on the long shot to win and put him on top of his exacta, trifecta and superfecta bets.
Birdstone, of course, beat Smarty Jones by one length in one of the most thrilling Triple Crown races ever. Royal Assault -- almost a 30-1 long shot on the Belmont Stakes odds board and also trained by Zito -- finished third, giving the Hammer and his followers monster payouts.
Now that the 2018 Belmont Stakes field is locked, Goldberg released his picks, predictions and exotic bets over at SportsLine.
We can tell you Goldberg believes Justify will be tired as he pursues horse racing's Triple Crown as the Belmont Stakes favorite.
"Justify is coming out of an extremely tiring race," Goldberg told SportsLine. "The Preakness really took a lot out of him. Plus, he has run five races in a very short period of time, while many of his competitors have fresh legs." Justify will run from the inside post on Saturday. Only one favorite has won the Belmont in the last 10 years.
One horse he's high on: Hofburg, who's going off at 6-1 Belmont Stakes odds and drew the No. 4 post.
"Hofburg reminds me of Birdstone, the 2004 Belmont Stakes winner, and has the same exact training pattern," Goldberg told SportsLine. "He is trained by Bill Mott, a legendary trainer based in New York. He'll have this horse ready on Saturday for the 2018 Belmont Stakes."
Hofburg won a Maiden Special Weight race at Gulfstream Park in March and went on to finish second in the Florida Derby four weeks later. He was seventh in the Kentucky Derby in May. According to Goldberg, Mott has been pointing Hofburg to this race after skipping the Preakness.
Goldberg is also eyeing an overlooked long shot who has a big edge in distance, which is exactly what's needed in the Belmont Stakes 2018. He's sharing which horse it is, and his predictions for every Belmont Stakes contender, over at SportsLine.
So what are Hammerin' Hank Goldberg's 2018 Belmont picks? Where does Justify finish? And what long shot should you back? Check out the updated Belmont Stakes odds below, then visit SportsLine to see Goldberg's picks for the Belmont.
Vino Rosso 6-1
Blended Citizen 21-1
Noble Indy 24-1
Free Drop Billy 25-1
Restoring Hope 30-1
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